Rainbows [poem], by Aviva Gale-Buncel
What is it about me and rainbows?
Do I love them so much because of my family?
Or because all of the beautiful colours look so perfect and blend together just right?
Or because of the wonder and excitement of seeing rainbows on rainy sunny days?
Each year, my wish when I would blow out the candles was to see a rainbow on my birthday.
Until this came true on a ferry returning from Toronto Island when I turned 7 or 8.
I wasn’t really sure what to wish for the next year.
My grandpa, my Zaide, a world-renowned scientist, carefully explained the science behind rainbows one day,
As we enjoyed a vegetarian brunch on Bay Street.
We tried but failed to understand.
Stories of my sister and me as toddlers at Pride sitting in our strollers in rainbow sunhats and tie-dye clothes, eating colourful fruit.
Every year I would (and still do) pick out my rainbow outfit and necklaces weeks in advance.
Rainbows today make me feel brave and proud.
I stand a little more confident in my rainbow tie-dye.
And pride of generations.
A courageous blanket hugging me,
The community power and belonging fill my soul.
When did I realise that the rainbow is a form of resistance?
Its flourishing is political in this world.
It became my gratitude to be bathed in loving rainbows,
And to walk in them mostly without fear.
Over the years, I learned that so many people who make up the rainbow are excluded from its arc and left in the rain.
My excitement when I first saw the intersectional rainbow flag,
After realising its desperate need.
Wondering about the place of queerspawn in the community and in the rainbow.
Fears of exclusion...questioning queer community belonging.
But never my love for rainbows.
When did this bright beautiful arc become a marketing strategy?
One corporate float after another...this parade is going on forever.
Oh wait, and here come the police marching in uniform!
The rainbow is protest. The rainbow is political.
The rainbow is belonging and the fight for it.
My love for rainbows is thanks to the constant courage of generations.
Uprisings led by people who often face oppression in the rainbow communities they made possible.
Future generations will be filled with gratitude for the constant courage and resistance today,
Faced with so much backlash.
The acceptance in my today is a dream over the rainbow for so many.
The injustice and violence continues.
The resistance continues.
How can rainbows be a response to storms and pounding rain?
How can they help welcome the sun?
How can we follow the rainbow to a golden pot of infinite justice?
Rainbows are where community is held by the earth and the earth is held by community.
We can paint a world of rainbows together.